11 Best Day Trips from Amsterdam by Train
11 Best Day Trips from Amsterdam by Train

11 Best Day Trips from Amsterdam by Train

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This article is a travel guide to Giethoorn Village in the Netherlands and lists the best things to do in Giethoorn..

The energy in Amsterdam is electric. It is also charming, quaint, happening, exciting, fun and anything else that you wish it to be. There are such a wide range of things to do in Amsterdam ranging from taking relaxed walks on the cute bridges, open boat rides in the canals, exploring the quiet neighborhoods and cycling in the gardens to going crazy at the many pubs and bars in Amsterdam, getting high in “coffeeshops” and visiting the infamous red light district. To see all of Amsterdam, ideally, you would need to spend 48 hours i.e. 2 days in Amsterdam and then spare a few more days or day trips to nearby areas.

All that said and done, there are incredible cities, Dutch villages, more canals and windmills waiting for you outside Amsterdam. Many of these places make for an easy day trip by train from Amsterdam due to their location and ease of access. So dive in and take a look at the 11 best day trips from Amsterdam below.

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11 Best Day Trips from Amsterdam – By Train

1. Giethoorn

Best Day Trips from Amsterdam by Train and Bus - Giethoorn

Giethoorn is a fairytale village in the Netherlands which has gathered popularity because it’s a village with no roads. Both tourists as well as locals commute using boats here. You can rent a boat online or in-person although the boats are more expensive and low in availability during popular summer months. It’s good to know that you don’t need a license to rent or drive a boat in Giethoorn! A duration of 4-5 hours is plenty of time to explore the best things to do in Giethoorn – walk around this postcard-perfect place, glide through the canals, photograph the cute cottages dotted with colorful flowers and go under dozens of tiny bridges.

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How to Reach Giethoorn from Amsterdam?

The distance of 119 km between Amsterdam and Giethoorn can be covered within one and a half hours by car. Although Giethoorn has no drivable roads, there are parking places available on the outskirts of a village from where it’s a short walk to the village itself. You can even reach Giethoorn from Amsterdam with the combination of train and bus. To make things easier, it’s best to be a part of a full-day tour going to Giethoorn from Amsterdam. Additionally, you could even take a boat tour to Giethoorn all the way from Amsterdam.

2. Zaanse Schans

Day Trip from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans by Train using the Amsterdam and Region Travel Pass

Speaking of picture-perfect locations, Zaanse Schans is one of the easiest day trips from Amsterdam that you just cannot miss! In fact, you can head over to Zaanse Schanze particularly easily if you have the Amsterdam and region travel card. This is the place where you get to see the Holland windmills without having to drive far into the Dutch countryside. There are plenty to things to do in Zaanse Schans such as exploring a cheese museum or the Albert Heijn museum, watching a cobbler create a shoe at the wooden shoe workshop, giving in to temptation at a chocolate and biscuits factory and of course, getting to explore the windmills of Zaanse Schans.

How to Reach Zaanse Schans from Amsterdam?

If you have a car then it’ll take you just 20 minutes to cover the distance of 20 km from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans. There is one large parking lot in Zaanse Schans near the wooden shoe workshop and museum. However, the easiest way is to take a day trip from Amsterdam by train. You need to catch the sprinter heading towards Uitgeest which will drop you off at Zaanse Schans in under 20 minutes.

3. Zandvoort

Amsterdam to Zandvoort beach day trip by train

Just like Zaanse Schans, you can use your Amsterdam and Region ticket to take a day trip from Amsterdam to the Zandvoort beach, particularly if you’re visiting in summer. Not only does this beach have great seafood restaurants, beach clubs, water sports and parking, but many other facilities. In fact there are even some surfing schools at Zandvoort beach for you to learn how to surf. Furthermore you can even take your canoe or horse out to the beach. Whether it’s tanning on a sunbed, swimming in the ocean or taking long walks on the beach, Zandvoort is the ideal day trip from Amsterdam by train.

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How to Reach Zandvoort Beach from Amsterdam?

Best way to reach Zandvoort beach from Amsterdam is by train. There is a Sprinter from the Amsterdam Sloterdijk station that goes directly to Zandvoort and the beach is a short five minute walk from the train station. If you have a car then the 40 km distance from Amsterdam to Zandvoort will be covered in 45 minutes.

4. Haarlem

Day trip to Haarlem from Amsterdam by Train

Haarlem is one of the most underrated Amsterdam day trips. The whole city of Haarlem , set alongside the river, is absolutely breathtaking, offers a few things to do, lots of photo opportunities, a windmill and is just the perfect place to walk around for a little while and grab food at a nice restaurant. There are also some interesting churches and museums in Haarlem that are worth checking out, including the oldest museum in the Netherlands. All this combined with the fact that you can visit Haarlem from Amsterdam using the Amsterdam and region travel ticket makes it one of the easiest day trips from Amsterdam by train.

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How to Reach Haarlem from Amsterdam?

To reach Haarlem from Amsterdam by train, take the Sprinter going towards Hoorn from the Amsterdam Sloterdijk train station. The city center of Haarlem is a 10-15 minute walk from the Haarlem train station or a short local bus ride away.

5. Keukenhof

Keukenhof, also known as the flower garden of Europe is a massive garden that is famous for the tulip fields during spring. This makes it one of the most anticipated and popular day trips from Amsterdam. Keep in mind that these gardens are only open in spring when the tulips bloom which means that there is a very short window to visit this garden and that is why it is recommended to buy your tickets to Keukenhof online, well in advance. 

Coming to the garden itself, a visit to Keukenhof is an immersive activity because the park offers whisper boat rides, bicycle rentals and guided tours. To make your visit to the Gardens comfortable, there is wi-fi, wheelchair for the disabled and facilities such as lockers and restaurants available as well. Furthermore, they offer activities for children which include treasure hunts and a playground. To top it all off, the endless rows of tulips in every color make this the ideal trip from Amsterdam during spring.

How to Reach Keukenhof from Amsterdam?

One of the best parts about taking a day trip to Keukenhof is that you can book a combined public transport + entry ticket to the park. You can choose your boarding point as Amsterdam or various places around Amsterdam such as Haarlem, Leiden or RAI. 

If you’re traveling by yourself by public transport then you need to take a train to Europaplein/RAI from Amsterdam and then the bus to Lisse where the park is located. If you’re coming by car then the 40 kilometer distance can be covered within 40 minutes and parking is available at the garden itself which costs €6 per car.

6. The Hague

Easy day trip from Amsterdam by train to the Hague

The Hague, known as the international city of peace and justice, is one of the most popular and easy Amsterdam day trips. Also the only big city with a beach directly on the North Sea coast, the Hague is famous for Scheveningen which is a long sandy beach that has resorts, great restaurants, a pier and a giant wheel on the beach. Apart from that, there are many beautiful palaces and museums to see here, which will keep you occupied for the entire day. A special mention to  the Het Binnenhof which is a gorgeous area with a palatial government building, a lake and beautiful garden around it.

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How to Reach the Hague from Amsterdam?

Since the Hague is approximately 70 km from Amsterdam, it can be reached by various modes of transportation. Although driving to the Hague takes 1 hour 30 minutes, it is actually an easier day trip from Amsterdam by train instead. The train to Den Haag Central from Amsterdam Sloterdijk takes just 46 minutes. The cheaper option would be to take a flixbus which costs between €4-6 per person and takes an hour generally.

7. Marken, Volendam and Edam

Marken, Volendam and Edam are all individual Dutch towns that are located north-west of Amsterdam. Given the proximity of the towns, they can be combined and visited together as an easy day trip from Amsterdam by train. The drive to these towns is quite scenic and you’ll get to see the typical Dutch landscape along the way. Not just that, you can see the Dutch windmills, take languid canal cruises, scenic villages and even visit museums and workshops to learn about the cheese-making and wooden shoe making processes of the Netherlands. All in all, you can pack in a full day’s worth of experiences by taking a tour of Marken, Volendam and Edam from Amsterdam.

How to Reach Marken, Volendam and Edam from Amsterdam?

All these three Dutch towns are located within the Amsterdam region which means that if you purchase the Amsterdam and region travel card then you can pay a visit to all three by train or bus from Amsterdam. Alternatively, if you want to avoid the hassle of locating buses and trains to each destination, then consider taking a tour of Marken, Voldendam and Edam from Amsterdam with a guide.

8. Rotterdam

The second largest city in the Netherlands, Rotterdam is hip, artistic and trendy. This port city offers a harbor, beautiful bridges, museums, and boat tours. One of the most unique and best things to do in Rotterdam is to take a splash tour which is a 60 minute bus ride to see the city highlights, following which the bus dives into water, sails to the famous Hotel New York and back.

Find Hotels in Rotterdam on Booking.com

How to Reach Rotterdam from Amsterdam?

Rotterdam is just 78 km from Amsterdam which means that you can take a day trip to Rotterdam from Amsterdam by train or car. Driving here will take you an hour whereas an intercity direct train takes a little less time. There are also buses to Rotterdam, which cost less than trains if you book well in advance.

Day Trips from Amsterdam to Belgium by Train

9. Brussels

Amsterdam to Brussels, Belgium day trip by train

A day trip to Brussels from Amsterdam is one of the most sought-after and popular experiences. Brussels is a vibrant, fast-paced city that is a perfect mixture of the old and new. While the Brussels city center offers interesting buildings and sights, the outskirts are more modern but charming. Even though Bruges is more famous for the canals, Brussels still holds its own with lovely gardens and canals of its own.

Some of the best things to do in Brussels include paying a visit to the Grand Palace, the Royal Palace of Brussels, the Atomium, Parc du Cinquantenaire, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts, and the Museum of Natural Sciences. Ofcourse, you can’t leave Belgium without trying the sinfully delicious Belgian waffles and fries. Furthermore, a Belgian beer tasting at Delirium cafe, a bar with a Guinness world record, is also a fantastic experience!

Find Hotels in Brussels on Booking.com

How to Reach Brussels, Belgium from Amsterdam?

It’s reasonable to have doubts about whether it is possible to take a day trip to Brussels from Amsterdam. They are, afterall, in different countries. The fantastic thing about Europe is that distances are very small and train connections are excellent. Which means that you can go from Amsterdam to Brussels, finish sightseeing and return back, or head to another city, within a day. The distance between the cities can be covered in a little over 2 hours with a direct train. If you wish to drive then it’ll take you about 2 hours 40 minutes to traverse the 210 km distance between Amsterdam and Brussels.

10. Bruges

Day trip to Bruges, Belgium from Amsterdam by train

Bruges, also known as the Venice of the west, is a popular and one of the best day trips from Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris. The romantic canals in Bruges, coupled with the Flemish architecture and sleepy lanes makes one feel as if they’ve stepped back in time. Another reason why Bruges is a popular day trip is that you can get here easily by train from Amsterdam and Brussels, visit the plethora of places to see in Bruges in one day and head back on the same day. Since the sights to see are close to one another, it makes sense to only spend a day or a few hours in Bruges and stiöl cover everything.

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How to Reach Bruges from Amsterdam?

It takes roughly 3 hours to reach and take a day trip to Bruges from Amsterdam. Firstly, you need to take a train that goes directly to Brussels from Amsterdam and then another train that goes to Bruges from Brussels. Given that the places to see in Bruges can be covered in 3-4 hours, it makes a viable and worthwhile day trip. You can also consider booking a cheaper (but slower) Flixbus from Amsterdam to Bruges.

11. Ghent

Day trip from Amsterdam to Ghent, Belgium by train

One of the most opulent cities in western Europe, even today you can witness the grandeur, wealth and charm of Ghent. Whether it is the view of the Graslei from Korenlei, an informative and stunning boat ride, the charm of Patershol or a tour of Gravensteen, there are plenty of things to do in Ghent in one day. Moreover, since Ghent and Bruges are less than an hour from each other, you can even combine the two and visit them on the same day. But for this, I recommend doing a weekend getaway from Amsterdam, seeing Brussels on one day and then Ghent and Bruges on the next, before going back to Amsterdam or to your next destination.

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How to Reach Ghent from Amsterdam?

You can reach Ghent from Amsterdam in 2.5 hours by train by taking a direct train from Amsterdam to Brussels and then another one from Brussels to Ghent. The connection is fast and easy with only 1 change in Brussels. The second train is the one that goes to Bruges so if you plan on seeing both Ghent and Bruges in a day then you need to take this train again while heading towards Bruges.

Bonus – Train from Amsterdam to Paris

If you’re already spent a few days in Amsterdam and seen the surrounding areas then it’s almost a sin to leave without having seen Paris. Lucky for you, reaching Paris from Amsterdam by train is super convenient since the Thalys operates between the two cities and you reach your destination Paris within 3 hours 30 minutes from Amsterdam.

Irrespective of how many days you spend in Paris, there are still plenty of places to see in Paris within a weekend or less.. Apart from the Eiffel Tower itself, don’t miss out on the Arc de Triomphe, Louvre museum, Notre Dame, Champs Elysees, Tuileries garden and Montmartre, among other places.

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Weekend Trips from Amsterdam by Train

All the places mentioned in this list of Amsterdam day trips can be turned into weekend trips from Amsterdam as well, particularly Giethoorn and the cities in Belgium.

If you were to take a weekend trip to Belgium from Amsterdam, you could spend one day and night in Brussels and the following day in Ghent and Bruges. There are even plently of tours to Ghent and Bruges from Belgium that include a guide and take the hassle of planning a trip away from you.

Did You Like This List of the Best Day Trips from Amsterdam by Train?

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